Who Knew Grocery Shopping Could Be So Much Fun

If you read my blog, you know I focus on making our communities safer. Today, I’m going on a tangent. Today I’m focusing on making our lives happier and on not forgetting the “little things” in our lives that are actually the biggest and by far the most important things we will ever do.

If you know me personally, you know my wife, Melissa, is pregnant with our fourth child; a little girl due in just a couple of weeks.  Superwoman that she is, this pregnancy is sapping the energy from her body, sometimes like Kryptonite. She still manages to keep up the same loving and cheerful personality I fell in love with over fifteen years ago. but just doesn’t have the energy to do the things we’re both used to her doing.

Because I’m such an amazing husband (kidding), I’ve recently taken it upon myself to do more of the household chores–I even cleaned the bathrooms last week for the first time in, geeze, I don’t know 5 years (proof that I’m not as amazing as I think I am). Before she was pregnant, Melissa typically did all the grocery shopping when our older two children were at school and she only had Jaxon, our three-year old, to wrangle. Because of her pregnancy, I have done the grocery shopping for the past several weeks. On these days, my schedule typically looks like this:

6:00 a.m.    Wake up and run or workout

7:00 a.m.    Get ready and eat breakfast

8:00 a.m.    Take Caden and Hannah to school

8:30 a.m.    Go to work

5:00 p.m.    Come home

5:30 p.m.    Cook and/or eat dinner

6:00 p.m.    Do the dishes

6:30 p.m.    Respond to the e-mails I received since leaving work

7:00 p.m.    Get the kids in their PJs and brush their teeth

7:15 p.m.    Read scriptures as a family (we try to every night)

7:30 p.m.    Put the kids to bed

7:30 p.m.    Go to the grocery store

8:30 p.m.    Get home and put groceries away

9:00 p.m.    Drag myself upstairs to go to bed

JaxonYesterday I got home and Jaxon was a new definition of “tired three-year old.” He whined, argued, fought, and was downright intolerable during dinner. He had been this way for much of the day and Melissa’s patience was clearly gone.  I decided to take him to the grocery store with me. A little after 6:00 p.m., I asked him if he wanted to go to the grocery store with me. From that second on, his attitude changed completely. He ran up the stairs as quickly as his little legs would move him and got his socks on. He came back down so fast he almost fell down the last half of the stair case.  We went to get his shoes on and he was disappointed to see that he put his right sock on upside down, luckily we were able to avert disaster and flip it over so the heel was where the heel goes. We put his shoes on and opened the front door.

It was pouring. Not drizzling. Not sprinkling. Not even raining. It was pouring. We went in and got the umbrella. He held it while I tried to get the van doors opened and get him buckled in his car seat. He giggled when I had to close the umbrella and accidentally dumped all the rain water on my head. I laughed at the joy he found in my carelessness.

We talked all the way to the grocery store. We talked about preschool. We talked about the way the rain drops danced on his window as we drove. We talked about his soon-to-be-born baby sister, and what we should name her.  He liked “computer”, I told him that probably wouldn’t work.

At the store it was still raining. We parked in the closest spot to the door, in the back of the parking lot some 500 feet from the door. I knew there were a lot of groceries on my list and didn’t want to carry a wet umbrella in my shopping cart, so we left it in the car and agreed to race to the front door. We got out and ran. He was sidetracked by the puddles and splashed in each one along the way. I kid you not, he didn’t miss a single puddle.

Once inside, we wiped the rain from our brows and got about our work. He rode in the front seat and talked the entire time we were there. He wanted everything we passed, literally everything. Whether it was broccoli or bubble gum, barbecue sauce or honey. He wanted it and was committed to telling me everything we had run out of or needed more of. I relented and told him he could pick out and buy one thing in the whole store. He chose, almost immediately, fruit roll ups. I think he played me because he knew exactly what he wanted and we were nowhere near the fruit roll ups at the time. Regardless, a deal is a deal and he picked “the red ones.” He was great the entire time we were shopping. A couple of times he asked me to “go real fast,”so I did, only for a few short steps, but he laughed and giggled. Even the old woman looking at magazines couldn’t help but smile at him.

When we were checking out, he wanted to help me bag the groceries. He hopped out and ran to push the button that brought the groceries down the conveyor belt so I could put them in plastic bags. He bragged to the little two-year old girl in the cart next to us–“My daddy lets me push the button.” The cart was all filled with groceries, so he held on to the handle and stood on the bottom.  I held his hands, making sure he didn’t fall, and we went outside.

As we went out the door, we went over the small bumps on the edge of the sidewalk and the parking lot. “That’s my favorite part daddy.”  As soon as we were through that, he wanted me to run again. I couldn’t help myself. I ran through the parking lot, pushing him and our groceries through the rain. As we neared the car, he hopped off and started running. I had to stop him to remind him not to run in parking lots.  Clearly confused, he asked, “But Daddy you runned.” He was right, so we had a little lesson on runner height and driver line of sight. I don’t think he understood.

We made another stop at a nearby department store–we needed ink for our printer. By now the rain had stopped, he pulled his jacket down on his arms a bit and started flapping “his wings.” He wanted me to fly with him. We flew the rest of the way into the store.

Knowing this was to be a quick stop, we walked instead of getting a cart. Jaxon reached for my hand, but I still had my car keys in that hand. He held my finger. A few steps later he asked me to put my keys in my pocket so he “could hold [my] whole hand.” I obliged and we walked through the store and got what we needed. When I knelt to figure out which ink cartridge I needed off the bottom shelf, he sat on my knee. After making our purchases, we flew back to the car.

On the way home, we stopped at Wendy’s for a $.99 Frosty. He wanted to get one for Caden and Hannah to take home but I told him they would be okay and reminded him they were probably in bed anyway. He liked knowing he was bigger than they were, even for an evening. He was having a hard time sitting on his chair and reaching his Frosty. He wondered if he could sit on my lap so he could reach better. After the evening we had, how could I say “no?”

We finished and drove home. Just two hours after our journey began, he went up to tell Melissa about our night. He whispered in her ear that we got ice cream and quickly got ready for bed.

It was, hands down, the best night I’ve had in months. I cannot imagine doing something more fun and will forever remember the things we did.

Don’t forget the little things. They’re always the most important.

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